Pastoral Letter Extended 7: Get your roots ready

This is the seventh of a series of posts expanding on my Pastoral Letter post based on my sermon from June 28th.

The original address was partially in response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage from this June. This series is not intended to be alarmist, but aims at equipping High Point Church to be faithful and vibrant followers of Jesus in a very sensitive cultural moment, while also anticipating what it may look like for us to do the same throughout whatever may follow.

7. We will need to (will get to) learn the truths of our faith – for real.

We are often impatient and disinterested in learning the deeper points of consistency and understanding within the Christian worldview, especially in “meddlesome areas” like sexuality, money, parenting, and marriage. We are naturally resistant to being told what to do, particularly in these areas, but God has told us clearly how to live regarding these things.

Your response might be, “I don’t need to know the theological definition of marriage in order to be a good spouse.”

But you do.

Even when we are not actively resistant, the word “theology,” particularly when used outside of a church building, sometimes initiates alternating waves of yawns and glazed-over eyes. It can conjure images of dusty academia and old men in robes who are detached from everyday Christian life.

The result is that we struggle to give any meaningful form to our beliefs. If I sat down with you and said, “Okay, explain to me the doctrines that you know.” The answer from most American Christians would be something like, “The Bible is God’s word, Jesus is King/Savior/Something like that, and I’m forgiven of my sins.”

And then I’d say, “Explain a Christian doctrine of marriage. What does it mean to be a man or a woman bonded in unified life in the covenant of marriage?”

Your response might be, “I don’t need to know the theological definition of marriage in order to be a good spouse.”

But you do.

Clarity, Passion, and Capacity

If you don’t understand what a thing is, if you don’t grasp the teleology – the purpose – for who you are, then you won’t have the clarity of mind, the passion of heart, or the capacity to discipline yourself toward something clear. You can’t orient your whole self toward what you’re meant to be.

I would define marriage as:

The lifelong, complementary, monogamous, cohabiting, procreative, sovereign union in which two people come together to mirror the relationship of Christ and the Church in covenantal union before God, with the design of producing godly offspring, thereby strengthening mankind to fulfill the creation mandate while making our homes a living testament to redemption.

Each of those pieces has tremendous significance and direct relevance for how you conduct yourself as a spouse in your everyday life. It should guide the decisions you make on every level. If you miss the significance of these elements, you can’t see marriage in all it’s glory.

If you don’t have deep roots, the coming wind will blow you away.

This is one of the reasons why Christians are so sexually deviant and why we have no credibility when we decry the decay of marriage because of same-sex unions. Because we aren’t filled with awe at the meaning of marriage, rooted in all those pieces of its definition, we aren’t filled with joy in the act of sex, and we look to compensate with other things. This is why so many men and women are wrapped up in pornography. This is why our promiscuity rates are so high, particularly among young couples. This is why our divorce rates are so high.

We don’t understand what we’re doing. We don’t see it in its richness, connected to a bigger whole. The result is that we’re just doing it in little bits, and we’re learning a lot more from our culture than from Jesus.

The Good News

The good news, though, is that if we don’t have clarity in this, our culture is going to make us.

We must go deeper in our understanding for the sake of clarity and fortitude. Misunderstanding erodes motivation rather than fostering it. When we have a shallow understanding of something, we are prone to give up on it. If you don’t have deep roots, the coming wind will blow you away. 

Written with contributions by Hannah

Feel free to comment below. Please be respectful and use appropriate language so the dialogue can continue.

2 thoughts on “Pastoral Letter Extended 7: Get your roots ready”

  1. We have Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) extension at HPC. There’s also another church that hosts theology classes, which are posted on near the jobs and men’s ministry boards. These can be audited (at least TEDS). Secret Church (David Platt) has been hosted, and there is a current Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) going over it that you are welcome to join. Also one on Job (Pain & Suffering). There has been Q&A sessions also on specific topics in the past.

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